Kakamega General Hospital operations were disrupted yesterday after patients and visitors were required to produce identification documents. Security officers insisted that every person seeking to enter, including patients in critical condition, must be identified before clearance at the gate. “Why can’t they even allow patients in critical conditions to enter and be identified on registration instead of keeping them here?” a patient’s relative asked.
County health executive Rachel Okumu said that the hospital has the problem of patients sneaking away without paying bills.
“We have had cases where people bring in patients and abandon them here and this is what we’re trying to stop,” she said.
Hospital superintendent Dr Victor Zimbulu then said that the move also aims to stop relatives of sick people from sneaking into the hospital.
There they eat food meant for patients and cause congestion by sharing the beds.
The commotion at the hospital gate disrupted operations in the early hours of the day. The hospital is a referral unit for all other health facilities within the county and neighbouring counties of Bungoma, Vihiga and Busia.
“We simply want to know who the patients being brought in are and how many patients the hospital is receiving per day.The requirement of an ID is not unique to Kakamega Hospital,” she said in statement.
The hospital is holding a number of patients who have been unable to pay bills running into hundreds of thousands of shillings. Okumu said that the ID requirement is also meant to end cases of patients receiving treatment using NHIF cards belonging to their relatives.
Two months ago, residents protested against a requirement by the county government that relatives taking care of their sick relatives pay Sh250 before being allowed in the wards.